Friday, December 18, 2009

What We Lost When We Thought We'd Won

The Obama Plan for Health Care Reform during the campaign:
Limits premium discrimination based on gender and age.
The current Senate Bill:
A qualified high risk pool meets the requirements of this paragraph if such pool—...(C) ensures that with respect to the premium rate charged for health insurance coverage offered to eligible individuals through the high risk pool, such rate shall— (ii) vary on the basis of age by a factor of not greater than 4 to 1;....

With respect to the premium rate charged by a health insurance issuer for health insurance coverage offered in the individual or small group market— ‘‘(A) such rate shall vary with respect to the particular plan or coverage involved only by— ...(iii) age, except that such rate shall not vary by more than 3 to 1 for adults (consistent with section 2707(c));
The Obama Plan during the campaign:
Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice.
The current Senate Bill:
December 16, 2009--Senate Democratic leaders abandoned the last vestige of a government health plan yesterday but pledged to move ahead on a sweeping health care overhaul, infuriating many liberals but pleasing President Obama, who said victory on his highest domestic priority was within sight.
The full specifics of Obama's Health Care during the campaign:
--Allow consumers to import safe drugs from other countries.
--Allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices.
--NEW AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS. Through the Exchange, any American will have the opportunity to enroll in the new public plan or an approved private plan...
What will be in any bill:
(In the July 7, 2009 memo) the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada -- and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

In exchange, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) agreed to cut $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years. Or, as the memo says: "Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion."
Now, please, tell me again that Obama did not build his campaign around the very things that have been trashed with his smiling approval, and that this bill, combined with business-as-usual economic "reform", is not going to turn us all into the indentured servantry of the corporate classes.

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